Recent reports suggest that Apple may be in the process of cracking down apps that do not get updates anymore. The tech giant sent an email to concerned developers, whose screenshot reveals that it was titled ‘App Improvement Notice.” In it, Apple seemed to warn them that it would remove apps from its store that have not been “updated in a significant amount of time.” They go on to give these app developers just a period of 30 days to bring some update to the apps if they did not want it removed.
In the email, the tech giant instructed the developers that they could keep the app available for new users to find and download from the store by putting in “an update for review in 30 days.” It goes on to warn them that if Apple doesn’t receive an update in the time period specified, the app would be “removed for sale.” However, any apps previously downloaded on the devices of users would remain even if Apple removes it from the App Store.
Many app makers appeared to be expressing their concerns regarding this change put forward. Robert Kabwe, developer of Protopop Games took to Twitter pointing out Apple’s threat to remove his fully-functional game, Motivoto as it was last updated in March 2019.
The tweet from Kabwe:
I feel sick. Apple just sent me an email saying they're removing my free game Motivoto because its more than 2 years old.
It's part of their App improvement system.
This is not cool. Console games from 2000 are still available for sale.
On the other hand, the developer of the FlickType Apple Watch keyboard, Kosta Eleftheriou pointed out another occurrence on the platform. The tech giant reportedly took down a version of his app made especially for the visually impaired as it had not been updated in the past two years.
Moreover, developer Emilia Lazer-Walker reported how Apple is removing some of her games from the app store, along with others that did not get the time to put in updates.
.@apple is removing a few of my old games b/c they have “not been updated in a significant amount of time”
Games can exist as completed objects! These free projects aren’t suitable for updates or a live service model, they’re finished artworks from years ago. pic.twitter.com/iflH70j7q4
Previously, in 2016, Apple stated that it would initiate the removal of abandoned apps from the store. It gave a 30 day buffer to the developers at that point too. However, it is still not clear if this been an old system or a rather new one that the tech giant is following. Moreover, it is still unclear as to what it is exactly ‘outdated’ for the Apple App Store. Critics, on the other hand, argue that mobile apps should always be available irrespective of their age, somewhat like old video games on consoles. Additionally, many also say that the policy puts increased pressure on developers, disrespecting their work.
Similarly, Google Play store also announce a similar move earlier in April. It stated that it would start limiting the visibility of these apps that do not target an API level within two years” of the newest release of an Android version.